Stop the World – I Want to Get Off

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Let me just state for the record: As much as I will miss all my friends who will be at ALA (including the wholesale category I forgot when I was making decisions) and as much as I wish I had been able to accept the offer to be on a panel discussion of a topic near and dear to my heart I am so happy I am not going. I simply cannot do a 3rd conference in a 4-week span.

I am so far behind!

I have barely scratched the surface of reporting on NASIG (not entirely my fault as the slides were not posted before I left for NASKO) and I now have the wonderful and historic NASKO and forming of ISKO-NA to report on.

I have a class that started last Tuesday and already missed a full day (on campus session) on Wednesday [Thanks for the notes, Ben!]. I have to finish my Terminology Services independent study. I have homework.

I have to do my CV. I have to buy an interview suit. I seriously need to talk with some folks as there are things afoot and damn it I am their librarian!

I have pictures to upload which require metadata.

And let’s just leave the household stuff alone, except for the fact that I have a mildew issue and thus cannot close up the apartment and use the AC (not all that effective anyway) and it’s in the mid-90s today. And then there’s what the mildew does to me ….

Anyway ….

I have really enjoyed these conferences the last few weeks. I have seen old friends, met new ones, met my intellectual crush, met other leaders in my area(s) of interest, been present for a historic occasion, fell in love with a big city.

Thanks to those who provided me transportation, housing, conversation and friendship. My heart is strengthened by all that people do for me. I only hope that my efforts to uplift others is also useful, and that when I am in a place where I can do the sorts of things that others have been doing for me that I do so.

I have put/am putting pictures of my Toronto trip in 2 sets at Flickr: O, Canada and NASKO 2007. The 1st is more touristy and the 2nd more conferency. My amazing friend Jennimi also took photos.

Hopefully I will have more to say about both conferences and other things. So much going on in this little head of mine and so little time for any of it. As much as I wish I was “producing” and not just consuming, I am very grateful to all those who I admire and respect who have counseled me to just keep reading and that “it” will come out when I’m ready.

Jenny, Jennimi, June, Steve, Kathryn and others. Thank you.

NASIG : Vision Session I : Bob Stein : The Evolution of Reading and Writing in the Networked Era

Vision Session I: Bob Stein, Director of the Institute for the Future of the Book. “The Evolution of Reading and Writing in the Networked Era.”

This was an interesting session in which I only jotted down 2 pages of random and skimpy notes.

In his prologue, he spoke about reading Arthur Koestler’s The Sleepwalkers which claims that Copernicus’ book was one of the most important books that nobody read at the time. Years later Owen Gingerich wrote The Book That Nobody Read. Gingerich spent around 30 years looking at every extent 1st and 2nd edition of Copernicus and found that all of them had dense marginalia; conversations, in fact.

Books as “frozen objects”, disconnected from each other.

Standard view of reading and writing is individualistic.

Books are random-access devices.

Today we face a serious issue with user-driven media being taken over by producer-driven media. But perhaps if we put a microprocessor into the mix then we can shift more producer-driven media back to user-driven media. [I can somewhat see the point, but I honestly don’t think that providing a pause, rewind, start over, etc. control makes something truly user-driven. He’s got a point, but he’s focusing on “vision” and not specifying the limits of the shift.]

“Librarians make me rise to the occasion. They are the smartest audiences I ever get to talk to.” [Might as well show a picture of a fluffy cat, Bob, or tell us one of those wonderful anecdotes about how everything you know you owe to the public library.]

The Future of the Book, Geoffrey Nunberg, ed., afterword by Umberto Eco. They were wrong about the book. It’s not about audiovisual, it is all about the network.

Some of the things The Institute for the Future of the Book has done/is doing:

Without Gods: Toward a History of Disbelief

Gamer Theory – McKenzie Wark

The Iraq Study Group Report

Sophie

Gratuitous Vannevar Bush reference. I forced myself to re-read “As We May Think” yesterday and at least it supports his use, mostly, if one reads real generously. Still. Learn a little recently produced history, please.

He left us with 3 questions?

If works are always in process, what does that imply for notions of versions and authority?

Authoritative editions may disappear.

Given the vast amount of information/conversation available on just one subject, should it even be a goal to enable a single individual to master it? [Hear, hear!]

Enable teams … mechanisms are currently missing for this.

What will it mean to be “human” in the age of the digital network?

Our views are wrapped up in the Enlightenment view.

He says various conversations are leading to the view that a new Creative Commons license is needed regarding the right to build marginalia around a work. [I sure wish he would have said more on this. It could be fleshed out a couple of ways and I don’t know which one(s) is correct.]

Forethought in technology. Humanists need to be involved. Do not leave the future of technology to the geeks.

He is profoundly nervous about the work the Institute is doing.

North American Serials Interest Group, Louisville, KY

This past weekend I attended my first North American Serials Interest Group (NASIG) conference (their 22nd) in Louisville, KY.

It was fun, interesting, and casual. I rode down and stayed with Steve Oberg, who I found out (from someone else) once we got there is a Past President of NASIG. Actually, over the course of 3 days I found it out from many people. It was nice to be able to spend some quality time with Steve and get to know each other better.

I finally got to meet Anna Creech, although we never found more than a few minutes to hang out. I never did manage to catch up with Greg Schwartz. He actually lives a goodly ways outside of town so my only chance was during the day on Friday and it didn’t work out. 🙁

I did get to talk with Karen for a minutes on late Friday afternoon for 10 minutes or so. Twas nice.

Thursday

The first event I attended was the reception on Thursday evening at the Frazier International History Museum. It was nice. I wandered up to the Late Night Social later in the evening but I didn’t remember anyone’s names although I recognized some faces. I sat around for a few minutes, but not wanting to drink (??) I didn’t “impose” myself on anyone and wandered up to the room.

Friday

Vision Session I: Bob Stein, Director of the Institute for the Future of the Book. “The Evolution of Reading and Writing in the Networked Era.”

Strategy Session: “From Tech Services to Leadership.” Panel relating skills learned in TS to demonstrating library leadership.

  • Joyce Ogburn, Director of Marriott Library at the University of Utah
    Karen Calhoun, Vice President, OCLC WorldCat and Metadata Services (formerly Asst. University Librarian for Technical Services at Cornell University)
    Carol Pitts Diedrichs, Dean of Libraries at the University of Kentucky

Tactics Session: “Successive Entry, Latest Entry or None of the Above? How the MARC21 Format, FRBR and the concept of a Work Could Revitalize Serials Management.” Katherine C. Adams, Britta Santamauro, both of Yale University.

Strategy Session: “Tumbling Dice: Publishers, Aggregators, and ERM.” Sandy Hurd, Innovative Interfaces, Inc.; Kathy Klemperer, Library and Information Systems Consulting; and Linda Miller, Library of Congress.

Dine Around at Jarfi’s. Good food and conversation.

Saturday

Vision Session II: Karen Schneider. “State of Emergency.” Alternate title: “The Paranoia Presentation.”

Strategy Session: “Hitting the Trifecta: Alternative Career Paths for Those with an M.L.S.” Ann McKee (consortia), Bob Schatz (book vendors), Christine Stamison (subscription agents), Steve Oberg (corporate), Beverley Geer (publisher), and Michael Markwith (subscription agent)

Tactics Session: “A Needle in the Haystack — Finding that First Academic Serials Job and Advancing to the Next Level.” Kay G. Johnson, Radford University and Gayle Baker, University of Tennessee.

Lunch & Informal Discussion Groups — I was interested in 3 of these and not sure exactly why I went to the one I did, but it was interesting. Perhaps it was my interest in continuing education, and that I hadn’t been to the 3rd floor in that wing of the hotel yet.

I attended SCCTP (Serials Cooperative Training Program) instead of Web 2.0 Tools for Libraries or RDA and Serials. Web 2.0 was easy enough to skip, but RDA ….

Tactics Session: “Straight from the Horse’s Mouth: New and Not-So-New Serialists Share Experiences.” Susan Davis, University of Buffalo, SUNY and Sarah Morris, Illinois College of Optometry.

I skipped the Endeavor User Group Meeting. I kind of wanted to go but I had been fighting a headache all day and it was at its worst. If my institution had been paying I would have made myself go but it was my dime ($375) and I took a break.

Brainstorming Session: This was on why and how to remedy the situation of very few wanting to run for leadership offices in the organization.

Dine Around at Saffron’s I wish I knew the name of the restaurant (thanks Steve & Greg), but I just kind of lucked into the group as they were heading over and they had room for an additional person. It was a lovely Persian place. Cost me a bundle, but it was worth every penny. Of course, going with this group caused me to miss hanging out with Anna Creech and her posse for barbecue. But seeing as I was already seated at the restaurant when I got her call…. Great food and conversation.

Open Mic Late Night Social: Some talented and funny people in NASIG. If I go next year (and I’d love to) I’ll have to practice some of my stories.

Sunday

Vision Session III: Daniel Chudnov, Library of Congress. “A New Approach to Service Discovery and Resource Delivery.”

Strategy Session: “It Takes a Community; The CLOCKSS Initiative.” Victoria Reich, CLOCKSS Initiative, Stanford University Libraries

I got to this one late as I stuck around to ask Dan Chudnov a question and then spoke with Britta Santamauro of Yale about her presentation on Friday re FRBR. I was much more impressed after speaking with her. I only stuck around a while. It was standing room only, and despite the lively presentation I could learn all of this from a decent article so I took a break.

Tactics Session: “Education Trifecta: Win attention, Palce knowledge, Show understanding.” Virginia Taffurelli, New York Public Library; Betsy J. Redman, Arizona State University; and Steve Black, College of Saint Rose.

This was about how to do serials continuing education, particularly online, and on Steve’s on campus MLS course in serials at SUNY-Albany.

Conference Closing.

Comments

[Side note: I was reminded once again that quite a few married librarians do not wear wedding rings. (1) Life is hard enough people. (2) I thought we were the “info people.” Hmmm. Thought I wrote about this phenomenon before but I can’t find it; perhaps they were only f2f conversation which I know I had.]

I will write up some of these presentations although probably not much about any of them. Several reasons for this: (1) My notes are generally pretty skimpy, (2) some of them were less informative than they could have been, (3) I have other things to do, (4) and there aren’t all that many serialists out there.

If you would like some more info on something I have not yet written about or do not write about feel free to contact me and I will shoot you what I can or try to put you in touch with the presenters. I will probably say something about the Vision Sessions. Otherwise it may just be a comment or two here and there.

I haven’t had a chance to check this out yet but it sounds wonderfully intriguing. Steve Black (The College of Saint Rose) has a program where he interviews all sorts of journal editors about all sorts of topics.

Periodical Radio’s mission is to record dialogues with the interesting, creative, dedicated people who edit and produce journals and magazines.

Listen online or download programs.

And a very big “Thanks for everything!” to Steve Oberg. You were more than wonderful!

Opportunities come … and go; just as fast

A couple hours ago I wrote and sent off an email that I found very difficult to write.

This weekend I received an email asking me to sit on a panel at ALA to help discuss a topic of current concern to some. But, unfortunately and for various reasons, I decided early in the year not to go to ALA. I chose to go to NASIG instead (June), along with ASIST (Oct.). I have since added ISKO-NA/NASKO in June.

Despite having lodging in the DC area, there is simply no way I can decide to go at this late date. I most certainly cannot afford it, nor can I afford to miss even more days of work.

But how is one to turn down such an offer? This is certainly the highest level invitation of any kind I have received in my so far short library career; probably even of my whole life.

I know some of you turn down these sorts of things frequently. But did you turn down the 1st one? “They” say “timing is everything” and so much about the timing(s) of this is perfect. But bounce that timing off the reality of life and it skews real poorly on one or more axes. OK, one axis. Money.

Several people of importance to me are encouraging me to accept and I am grateful to them for that wisdom. But it simply is not to be. <sigh>

But. Tomorrow I start a(nother) new job and will become a Rapid Monographic Cataloging GA (well, hourly for the summer; GA in the fall). Yay, me!

I am seriously looking forward to actually making some forward progress each day (as in number of titles cataloged). My serials gig is anything but rapid. It’ll be hard to remember that I can only do copy cataloging with the monographs, though. 😉

Life is full of trade-offs it seems. And some of them are even good ones.

P.S. I was reasonably OK with my decision a few hours ago, but now I am finding it hard to fathom that I said “No, thank you.” I can certainly believe the reality of it, though. Oh well. “Buck up, kid! You get to learn something new tomorrow.”

No IM and other things

Computer

To my few IM buddies I will not be available the next … days. I took my laptop to the shop this afternoon. The trackpad had been locking up a lot lately, and last night the whole machine just got stoopid! I’m really worried and praying that it is still under warranty. I believe it is; but my beliefs are not exactly relevant.

I’m also pissed because I was going to do a full backup before taking it in. I have a fairly current almost complete backup, but I really would have liked to be able to just dump the whole thing to the external drive first.

They won’t even be looking at it until tomorrow. <sigh>

Life ….

You know, we’re just going to leave that one alone for now.

I have “arrived”

I guess by one scale I have finally “arrived.” I made it into American Libraries Direct for my reporting on the LC Working Group on the Future of Bibliographic Control meeting. I really don’t even have a problem with their claim that “Blogger Mark R. Lindner offers extensive notes on the session, which featured a controversial presentation by University of Chicago cataloger David Bade….” Some do consider it thus, although I do not.

I just really wish they had linked to the first post. It seems to me to be more like yellow journalism to link to the one post that reports on the presentation that might be considered controversial, or that they have labeled as such. It also does not help that it is the only presentation that I questioned in any true way. As it has already become abundantly clear to me, many people fail to see the labor of love and actual respect that I have for David Bade’s views in my questioning.

I wrote what I did there, and in my follow-up, because I care deeply about his message being heard and, more importantly, being understood by those who need to hear it. I fear even more will now only see my questioning. For that I am especially sorry to David Bade.

The “system” is once again poised to shut down dialogue.

Conferences

I am now officially registered for both NASIG and NASKO. Here we come June, Louisville and Toronto. Woohoo!

A crazy mishmash of life

Sickness and death

Been having odd sick-like things going on for a couple months now. Went to the doc last week. Sinus x-rays showed an infection and I’m a third of the way through 20 days of antibiotics. My electrolytes were also off and I had to have them retested. Go back Monday for a follow-up.

I need to call the pest control dude back. Maybe it’s the cold snap, but I have had a couple ants the last couple days. I have about 3 more weeks to get a free touch-up spray. It’s stressful enough right now with the semester’s end rapidly approaching without needing to kill more ants. “Stay outside, you little bastards!”

End of the semester

Speaking of the end of the semester … I’m OK, but really need to get productive quickly! I’ve been reading a lot as you can see, but now it’s time to do something with what I’ve read and to actually research some (i.e., visit and play with) some terminology services-type projects. I’ve been entering many of my readings in Zotero, too, so I can do my bibliography.

My project for Representation and Organization is probably going to be an annotated bibliography. Kathryn’s left it up to me to produce something useful for the class on my topic, relationships, although she suggested a few things including the bibliography. I am going to structure it around Bean & Green’s 4-way grouping from the introduction to Relationships in the organization of knowledge:

  1. Bibliographic relationships between units of recorded knowledge
  2. Intratextual and intertextual relationships, including those based on text structure, citation relationships, and hypertext links
  3. Subject relationships in thesauri and other classificatory structures
  4. Relevance relationships (vii)

I will, of course, expand on these (non-mutually exclusive) categories and try to include at least one good article on each topic. Many topics will have several good or even great ones. And, if you’ve been paying attention, you may have noticed that I’ve even gone back and read some of the early classic articles.

Allen really liked my first paper for Ontologies and now I just need to do a bit of expansion and try to add a couple sentences here and there on some points he said I’d get nailed for if it were a conference paper. Our initial limit was 3 single-spaced pages and now I have 1-3 more to “play” with. Of course, I’m supposed to explain the notion of hierarchies, my choice of methodology (chose the right one, but need to say why), and also what I mean by “fundamental category.” I love how he said that “I need to do something (about “fundamental category”), that it’ll be hopeless, and that I won’t be satisfied.” Truer words of advice from a philosopher were never spoken. In 1-3 sentences I need to stave off criticism from those who think they know what they are and that I don’t, and criticism from those who think no one knows what they are. Certainly a simple task, eh? 😉

I really had no idea what to expect from Allen when I went in to talk to him last Sunday since I had never written an actual paper for him before, but it was delightful. We chatted for a good while about a fair few things and it did my heart good. Those memories are mine, though.

I need to get on this paper, though, as I present it to class on Tuesday the 17th. I’ll post it here at some point. I’m even considering posting both versions, but I want to have the expanded version written before I post the original.

Assistantships

I just realized that my thesaurus assistantship is over May 15th, and I verified that they have no money to pay me (hourly) after that. At least I didn’t get let go like several other folks a month or two back. That means I will not completely finish my first pass through FireTalk, although possibly all Top Terms except TT00 General. The problem is, I’m still waiting for node labels (maybe next week) and it will really need a 2nd pass. ::sigh:: “‘ferris wheel rescue’, ‘ferris wheel rescue’, ‘ferris wheel rescue’…”

I think I’m set for Fall, though. I scored another assistantship in Rapid (monographic) Cataloging and kept my Serials gig. Sweet! I’ll get to sit at my own desk all week, and get some great monographic copy cataloging experience. I’ll certainly see a vastly wider range of subjects, class nos, and some other MARC fields than I do now. My only concern is that if some adjustments aren’t made it’ll be 60% total, and those extra few hours/week make a big difference.

My serials gig is through the summer, but I need to find some way to make up the $$ from the Fire Service gig. Cause it only adds up to rent and utilities for 3 months. Else it’ll be a very boring summer as I basically sit in my house and it ramen.

Blogging, or not so much

See the next post…

Future classes

This summer I’ll be taking a class on Topic Maps with Patrick Durusau via LEEP. This Fall, who knows? Registration opens Monday and we don’t have all the classes listed yet! Now this is certainly abnormal for us, but it sucks nonetheless.

I am taking Bibliography with one of our amazing emeritus professors, Don Krummel. After that, hmmm? There really aren’t many decent courses being offered in my opinion. But one should keep in mind that I’ll have 74 semester hours of LIS credit by the time Fall semester starts. Maybe it is about time to move on. 😉

There are a couple that might be interesting in light of my previous socio-technological work, but they are with someone I don’t think I’d take any class from based on what I’ve heard from many of the PhD students.

Julia Flanders (who is amazing!) will be teaching Electronic Publishing via LEEP again. While interesting, I had a look at last year’s syllabus and I don’t know. Kind of peripheral to my main interests.

An analysis of contemporary electronic publishing from the perspective of the production process, emphasizing the role of information processing standards and the concept of documents as knowledge representation systems. Specific topics will include the organization of digital document production, tools and techniques, technical strategies, business strategies, and policy issues. Particular attention will be given to the use of key XML-related standards in the production process, and to the general role of data standards in supporting the development of a high-performance electronic publishing industry. As a vehicle for presenting a coordinated selection of fundamental issues, we will focus on the development and use of the Open eBook Publication Structure, a new industry specification for the content, structure, and presentation of “electronic books”. Students may approach the material from a variety of perspectives. Final projects will be individualized to student’s interests and backgrounds and may be either analytical research papers or technical projects designing and implementing portions of publishing systems (From GSLIS Course Catalog).

Dave Dubin will be teaching Foundations of Information Processing in Lib & Info Science, which will include Python programming. Allen Renear highly suggested I take this after hearing of the other classes I have taken and my professional plans. He’s right; I need to do this. But it’s LEEP and I broadcast this class for Dave once and had a hard time keeping up when in the same room with him even. That boy can pack an English sentence like none I’ve ever known!

Covers the common data and document processing constructs and programming concepts used in library and information science. The history, strengths and weaknesses of the techniques are evaluated in the context of our discipline. These constructs and techniques form the basis of applications in areas such as bibliographic records management, full text management and multimedia. No prior programming background is assumed (From GSLIS Course Catalog).

More important to my current goals are the independent studies/practica that I’m trying to put together. I want to do some work with “authority control,” both traditional (AACR, MARC, LC) and newer, non-traditional forms like embedded gazetteers, term lists, etc. They will probably have to be separate, but who knows? I’m drafting a letter to ask for a meeting to discuss possibilities with our head of cataloging but am waiting on a couple feedback responses first. Quite possibly something could come of this that would shape my CAS project. It’d be nice to do some real work and learning, and benefit the library and our patrons at the same time.

I thought I had the authority control thing sewn up when I got a CETRC Mentor, but seeing as I never heard from them I seem to need to find a different route. And speaking of never hearing from….

ALA and its offshoots

Almost 2 months ago, I wrote about ALA membership processing being broken. I called them a couple of days after that and was assured that everything was right with the world. The lady I spoke with really was very pleasant. She assured me that, “No, I did not owe any more $$ for ACRL and that I really was no longer a member of ACRL, and that surely LITA knew I was a member because they have exactly the same info as she does.” She suggested that maybe I hadn’t heard from them yet as their journal is quarterly and, well, Nov. to Feb. When I asked whether I should have at least received a welcome email or such she was a bit perplexed but, nonetheless, “All is right with the world.”

Well, damn it ALA! All is not right with the world. I still get ACRL publications. I have yet to receive any thing—journal, email, “Fuck off but thanks for the $$”—except for a kindly welcome from a member in my post comments. As I said in my previous post:

I voted for the dues increase ALA. I expect you to actually fix some of the broken parts with it. Starting with membership services might be a good place. That seems like such a basic concept for a membership organization, especially one whose purpose really isn’t to serve their members but where their members work. It seems to me that asking people to pony up large sums of money to be a member of something that actually supports their employers—truly one heck of a concept—would particularly make the organization pay attention to the “small” matter of membership.

I said a lot more, too, and I stand by every word of it. There are other games in town and as I figure out exactly where I want to put my limited time and energy professionally ALA is at the bottom of the list. I also doubt that they could do much to improve the situation for me at this point. I’ll probably stay a member of ALCTS next year, but after that when I am no longer a student and depending on where my 1st job takes me … who knows?

ALA, you are improving in a few small ways and I am truly glad for that. But you still truly suck in some very overarching ways that are far more important. So keep putting money into Second Life because that is far more important than even recognizing that someone is a member of part of your organization. Yeah, seems like the right priority to me. In the meantime you can find me at ASIST and NASIG.

That is all I’m willing to say because I don’t want to find myself in a situation like someone else I know who swore “Never again ALA…” and ended up taking a job there a few months later. See, my ethical sensibilities would have a real hard time with that.

That’s all for now as I have another post to finish so I can concentrate on school work.

NASIG

This evening I finally joined NASIG. There is also a distinct possibility that I will be attending the NASIG 22nd Annual Conference in Louisville, KY in early June. So if anyone out there is going please let me know.

I wish I had known I’d be going to this late last year when there was a possibility of getting some money to go like my friend Jenny once did. But I would have had to join at the same time I was renewing ALA and ASIST. And while NASIG is cheap for students, that was not happening. Oh well.

On another note. While my thesaural work sometimes drives me nuts, primarily due to the less-than-capable tools I have to use, any thesaurus that includes the term phrase and concept, “ferris wheel rescue,” is a pretty damn cool thesaurus, in my book!